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Florida-based LeoSat is yet another low-Earth orbiting satellite constellation designed to bring “alternate” broadband and data access to the planet. It has just appointed Mark Rigolle, a former CFO at SES and CEO at O3b, to run the business. It claims it will be the “fastest network around the world by far”. Rigolle takes over from Vern Fotheringham who only stayed with LeoSat for six months.
In June it confirmed that satellite builder Thales Alenia was carrying out a feasibility study for the scheme. But it is still a ‘scheme’. Their plans are to build between 78-108 small, high-throughput satellites and to deliver traffic to clients at a faster speed than fibre connectivity, and to raise the cash, build the satellites and launch the fleet in the 2019-2020 timeframe.
“Timing is important. In O3b we were raising the funding in 2009 to 2010 just after Lehman Brothers and all that. It was probably not the best possible timing to raise $1.2 billion. Now markets are hopefully more open than that, especially since we will be raising larger amounts. The phase we are entering now is where we turn the project into a company. We need to start raising serious equity. We are going after more institutional money,” said Rigolle in a recent interview.
He also said that LeoSat would build a pair of trial satellites to prove the concept, but said that LeoSat would enable data traffic to travel from Tokyo to New York in less than 100 milliseconds, “which you cannot do with fibre or (conventional geostationary) satellite.”